This weekend we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany. Epiphany is the other half of our Christmas Story where we are reminded that all peoples are welcomed by our Lord and are invited in to encounter our Savior, Jesus, the Prince of Peace at his birth. This weekend in particular we are mindful of those who are considered “foreigners,” different from us. These are the migrants, immigrants, and refugees from other countries apart from the U.S looking for a better life. Like our own ancestors of old, they too are seeking new opportunities of hope for their future. They too deserve some of the same freedoms we enjoy! The Bishops of the United States (USCCB) have made it a point to say that everyone deserves a chance to better themselves by “following the star” who is the light of Christ. For this reason the Feast of Epiphany has also been designated as “Immigration Sunday” a reminder of those who experience this difficult plight. So often those who seek a new life are prevented from doing so either because of political roadblocks, socio/economic circumstances or public prejudices which arise. As followers of Jesus who have already been invited to the “stable” we are called to do our part to help alleviate some of these obstacles in our own cities and neighborhoods. Like the Magi of old, they have gifts and treasures to offer too! We are often enriched by other people’s diversity.
As side note: Bishop Kettler has requested that each parish cluster do something to observe “Immigration Sunday”. As Bishop Kettle says, “The theme this year is, “Building Communities of Encounter”-communities that listen to one another with the ear of the heart, acknowledging challenges and differences but seeking to live together in friendship….”
In an effort to do this, on Saturday, January 7th following the Saturday 4:30 pm St. Paul’s evening Mass, the St. Peter and St. Paul Social Justice Committee is planning to “piggyback” on the regularly scheduled parish social and invite certain immigrant families to join us afterward for a short panel discussion on their history of assimilation into the United States and into our own St. Cloud community. These will be families of different ethnic origins who have been in our community for many years, and have truly established themselves as part of us! It will be interesting to hear their stories and ask questions about their experience, so please consider joining us for this great discussion. Who knows, you may come to understand not only their experience, but also the experience your own ancestors may have had many years ago when they too came into this country!
Peace and God Bless!
Fr. LeRoy Scheierl
Fr. LeRoy will be participating in the Clergy Conference this week.